Manufacturing Solar in the US with Auxin Solar

Manufacturing Solar in the US with Auxin Solar


Attention U.S. Department of Commerce: your well-intentioned efforts to help the U.S. solar panel manufacturing industry are not working.

Even with 30%+ tariffs on imported solar panels and cells, the remaining U.S. manufacturers are struggling to stay competitive. The good news, as one would expect, is that there is strong demand for Made in the U.S.A. solar panels – both from ordinary consumers as well as government purchases. However, structural issues with the supply chain for solar components puts the remaining U.S. manufacturers at a substantial disadvantage. (more…)

The Commercial Solar Opportunity

The Commercial Solar Opportunity

There are there are three market segment for solar in the U.S.: residential, utility and commercial. Based on some rough math, in 2018 we expect to install 5 to 7 million solar panels on homes in the U.S. In areas with high residential electric rates, paybacks are usually in the range of 4-8 years. But the utility solar segment is much larger: about 20 million solar panels will be installed by utilities in 2018. Utilities realize that it is cheaper to generate power with solar compared to coal or nuclear generation. Moreover, the combination of solar and batteries is projected to be even cheaper than natural gas in a few years. (more…)

What are the best solar panels?

What are the best solar panels?

What are the best solar panels? That’s a question we are asked all the time. When customers look for the “best” solar panels they consider efficiency, reliability, quality and cost. Cost and efficiency are closely related – all solar panels generate the same amount of electricity (kwh) on a per watt basis. Your appliances can’t tell the difference if they get their electrons from super-efficient panels made in the USA, or the cheapest panels made somewhere in Asia. (more…)

Can the Battery Storage Industry Avoid the Same Mistakes as the Solar Industry?

Can the Battery Storage Industry Avoid the Same Mistakes as the Solar Industry?

The battery storage industry is roughly where the solar industry was in the early 2000’s. It’s a tiny market now, with fewer than 1,000 grid-tied systems installed last year. Nevertheless, technology is evolving rapidly and investor funds are pouring in. There is tremendous money saving potential for customers — while at the same time risks for incumbent energy providers. (more…)

What are Microgrids?

What are Microgrids?

We call our power system an electric “grid” because it is composed of a network of wires that move the power around from node to node – basically a combination of power sources (natural gas power plants, solar farms, nukes), wires (long distance transmission lines and local distribution utility poles) and controls. Microgrids are the same concept but on a much smaller scale. (more…)

Solar and Storage in Hawaii with Marco Mangelsdorf

Solar and Storage in Hawaii with Marco Mangelsdorf

Solar is clean and renewable and cheap. So more solar is better for everyone…except your local utility. Keep in mind that utilities generate their profits from selling electricity and building generation, transmission and distribution assets. When electricity customers install more solar, utilities make less money. Unfortunately, utilities have the political clout to enforce their monopoly on customers who would otherwise prefer less expensive rooftop solar. The biggest battles are emerging in relatively mature solar markets. (more…)

Solar and Battery Storage System Engineering with Josh Weiner of SepiSolar

Solar and Battery Storage System Engineering with Josh Weiner of SepiSolar

Solar and battery storage systems are constructed on-site with components from a number of different manufactures. It’s not as if one crate gets delivered to the job site and is simply plugged in. There are on the order of fifty different solar panel manufacturers, half a dozen inverter companies, a dozen racking companies, half a dozen battery companies, and a variety of monitoring and control software choices. Match that product variation up with three thousand different utilities and eighteen thousand cities in the U.S. and it becomes very apparent that there is no “one size fits all” system. (more…)